Whether you are a high school athlete or a Wall Street executive, developing strong team working skills is essential to your success. Humans owe their place in the world today to the value of teamwork. Generally speaking, we are stronger together than individually. Here are 5 easy tips to improve your team working skills and improve your overall effectiveness.
Learn to Listen
While working in a team, the focus shifts from the individual to the group. Ultimately this shift will benefit the entire group but may be initially painful for a few. The key is to listen to the opinions of all members of the group. Dominant personalities should not be allowed to override solid ideas from more reserved members.
To be a successful team member, it goes without saying that you must pull your own weight. Everyone has a job to complete and the team will only be successful if everyone does theirs. For example, a football team could have an all-star quarterback but he is rendered useless without effective linemen protecting him from being tackled.
Become a Problem Solver
Everyone likes to point out flaws in a plan but few offer real solutions. Focusing on negatives will only hinder the performance of the team. Instead of saying “X is not working” say, “I think we can improve X by. . .” Your teammates will appreciate the option you present and it may encourage them to offer their own.
Voice You Opinions Openly
It is important that you offer constructive criticism. You are a member of the team for a reason and no one else shares your particular life experiences and perspectives. Discouraging members from voicing their opinions often leads to negative sentiments or even resentment. Your fellow members will appreciate your honest take on an issue and it may prompt them to view a problem in a different manner. Of course, be sure you choose the appropriate time and place to voice your opinions. For example, a board meeting is not the ideal locale for a subordinate to criticize his boss’s plan.
As a team member, you are there to perform a specific task and do your teammates a dis-service by not fully participating. Arrive at meetings prepared and volunteer for assignments. This means you must overcome inhibitions such as the fear of public speaking. Know that each of you has the same goal in mind and will benefit from your constructive input. For more on the effectiveness of teamwork in the workplace, click here.